The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, has been introduced as a Member of the House of Lords as he continues his ministry leading the Church of England in Leicestershire.
Bishop Martyn joins the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as well as 24 other Church of England Bishops who currently sit in the Lords and together form the Lords Spiritual.
He was introduced in a short ceremony on Monday 15 and was sponsored by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Gregory Clayton Smith. It involved him swearing an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. You can watch this here:
Bishop Martyn said:
“It is a great privilege to be entering the House of Lords - one which I will seek to use for the good of others, particularly those who are most in need, both in the UK and beyond our shores.
"Undoubtedly, these are turbulent times in politics and worrying times for millions of families struggling with the cost-of-living. Guided by my faith in Jesus Christ, I hope to be able to use my voice in the Lords to seek peace, justice, and above all, love for our communities.
"I am continually inspired by how churches and other faith groups in Leicester and Leicestershire serve their communities. So, I will seek every opportunity to sing the praises of our area and the people who make it great.”
He is the Church of England’s lead bishop on Lay Ministry, taking a proactive role in the development of and championing a wide range of ministry from licensed roles such as Readers and Pioneers, to youth and children and families workers.
He is also a Patron of Home For Good charity supporting the fostering and adoption of children in care in Leicester, as well as SoundCafe Leicester which supports vulnerable people including those who experience homelessness.
Born in Indonesia, Bishop Martyn also has experience of other parts of the world, including having worked in overseas mission with the Church Missionary Society in West Africa and spending time learning from people in link Anglican dioceses in Tanzania, India and Wyoming, USA.
Arriving in Leicester as the new bishop in 2016, he has been behind a report into the needs of rural churches in Leicestershire, the ongoing Resourcing Churches project and expanding the numbers of fresh expressions of Church and Pioneer projects (see report).
In that time he has also welcomed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Leicester as she gave out Maundy Money at the Cathedral in 2017, and hosted the Archbishop of Canterbury during a three day visit.
He has also convened a faith leaders’ group in Leicester and in 2020 was moved to ‘Take The Knee’ outside Leicester Cathedral following the death of George Floyd.
He instigated the ongoing Intercultural Worshipping Communities project to enable and inspire greater participation of global majority Christians in Anglican churches in Leicestershire.
His first suffragan bishop was appointed in 2017 with the creation of the Bishop of Loughborough title, held by the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani (now Bishop of Chelmsford) and currently by the Rt Revd Saju Muthalaly.
Bishop Martyn enjoys spending time hearing from young people in schools and colleges as well as being out and about on the streets and in the community venues, especially on ‘Bishop’s Big Conversation’ weekends when he works alongside local clergy, lay ministers and church volunteers to meet residents, and chat about their lives, challenges and beliefs. He also established our new monastic community; the Community of the Tree of Life for young Christians.
Before coming to Leicester, he had previously served as Bishop of Tewkesbury 2013-2016 and Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham 2010-2013. You can read more here.
Background Info: The Lords Spiritual
One of the bishops in the Lords read prayers at the start of each day’s parliamentary business and play an active role in the life and work of the House, including in committee work scrutinising draft legislation.
When bishops retire from their See (compulsory at age 70), their membership of the House also ceases. Occasionally, some become life peers, and this is usual for former archbishops.
Bishops’ presence in the Lords is an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God’s word and to lead people in prayer.
Bishops provide an important independent voice and spiritual insight to the work of the House and, while they make no claims to direct representation, they seek to be a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.
Their presence reflects our national constitutional arrangement, with an established Church of England and its Supreme Governor as Monarch and Head of State.
A 2017 House of Lords Library briefing note on the Lords Spiritual can be read here and you can read more here: Lords Spiritual – The Church of England in Parliament (churchinparliament.org)